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Soumik Sen | February 07, 2004

It's that time of the year again! Whether you are smitten by the love bug or bitten by the matrimony mosquito, the brand mongers are all set to pull hard at your purse strings.

Everyone from Pepsi to Dior to Corum watches has something special planned for Valentine's Day. We take a look at some inexpensive and other not-so- wallet-friendly options that marketers would have you believe are the best ways to express your love.

Let's start with the cheapest option. Pepsi has launched the Pepsi 'Love Wrap' -- in Delhi and Gurgaon, where consumers can send messages printed on customised labels of 500-ml Pepsi bottles.

Consumers can write their messages on entry forms available at Pepsi outlets such as Pizza Hut, Subway, Mark Pi restaurants and PVR and Satyam cineplexes and submit them.

The messages will then be printed on customised 'Love Wrap' labels on 500-ml Pepsi bottles and hand delivered in attractive carry bags, to the object of your affections.

What's more, you will not pay anything extra for the message. Shashi Kalathil, executive director (marketing), Pepsi Foods, feels that this consumer initiative is a unique way to make Valentine's Day "much more memorable."

While the discreet and thrifty may well stick to the Pepsi bottle, others may not be able to get away that easily. Especially if your lady-love happens to read about the 'roses that last forever' from silverware maker IK Silver.

Handcrafted from genuine roses, each bloom is picked at its prime, and then through a 40-step process, fashioned into an exquisite expression of love.

Created by skilled artisans, no two roses are alike, making each stem a one-of-its-kind gift. Sheathed in 24-carat gold, thus preserving the blossom's loveliness, every rose takes four days in the making and comes at Rs 1,000 a stem.

The price may sound steep, but in Singapore, people are apparently forking out $28 for roses with the name of their loved one printed on the petals. Florists and jewellers are understandably banking on it being a 'red' letter day next week.

Roses, yes. But would anyone buy a suitcase for their loved one? La Salle seems to think so. The global luggage company is launching a soft luggage range 'Panache' just before Valentine's Day.  The range is a complete luggage collection that comprises seven products designed to meet all travelling needs of the consumer.

The Panache range is available in three shades -- Emerald Green, Wine Red and Stallion Black. The range is priced between Rs 1,150 and Rs 4,425 and is available at select stores.

Frazer and Haws has dedicated it's Valentine collection to James Bond. Comprising of desk accessories, photoframes, vases and trendy jewellery, the Collection 007 is eclectic and individualistic. Prices start at Rs 1,200.

Luxury watchmaker Christian Dior, which has just entered the women's watch segment, is also hoping to make a splash on Valentine's Day with its recently launched watch -- the Dior Girly -- priced between Rs 30,500 to Rs 44,000.

Between February 10 and February 20, anyone who buys the watch will get a free candlelight meal with Moet Hennessy champagne thrown in at one of the five star restaurants in Delhi or Mumbai.

For the really brazen or lovestruck, the best (read most expensive) way to express your love would be to buy the lady a Trapeze pink watch, from Corum.

The Trapeze features a mother-of-pearl dial in hues of pink set against a steel-backed case and surrounded by a diamond bezel. Stunning it is, in pink, lavender and blue dials, especially when it comes with a price tag of Rs 532,000.

To make up for the feeling of loss that every boyfriend or husband experiences on such shopping binges, Tanishq is giving a free 22k gold coin with every purchase of diamond jewellery worth Rs 5,000 and above.

Some companies are getting even smarter. They are reaching out specifically to singles who don't have anyone to send a Valentine to. The Taj Group has come up with the innovative vacation scheme for singles. This is a common concept around the world, but is being introduced in India for the first time.

The first programme will be launched at the scenic location at the Taj Exotica, Goa. The hotel has planned a range of activities to keep singles fully occupied.

These include yoga, meditation programmes, ice breaker activities, pool-side and beach side activities, cocktail making courses and dance classes. This is in addition to the regular candlelit dinner, buggy ride Valentine's day packages for the couples.

Even automobile major TVS has figured that V-Day is the perfect opportunity to reach out to the single yuppie. TVS' Scooty Pep invites pleasantly single folk to drop in answers to questions like 'A Scooty Pep is preferable to a date because...' at Cafe Coffee Day outlets. The lucky ones will walk out with prizes that include MP3 players, Fastrack I-gear, Sony Walkmans and even a Scooty Pep.

And if Cafe Coffee Day is wooing singles, can Barista be far behind? A consumer promotion is planned under which a consumer will be entitled to free gift and lucky draws, entitling them to digi cams, diamond pendants and mobile phones, during Valentines week.

And to add a little spice, the 'Find Your Aphrodisiac, theme will allow consumers to pep their own coffee with the aphrodisiac corresponding to their sign of the Zodiac (these range from chocolate to Irish cream). And for the young Valentines, this would be the way to celebrate Coffee Sutra Week.

Subtleties can be kept aside next weekend, especially if jiving the night away is the perfect way to garnish mush with rhythm. The nightclub at Hyatt Regency Delhi, Djinns, is organising a Kamasutra theme night (Rs 3,500 for a couple), where 'strictly the décor' is inspired by Vatsayana.

And if impressing the lady with dance moves is a little too out of your way, trust the chef at the Brix at the Grand, who will be at your service and help you cook that special meal for your beloved -- all for Rs 1,500.

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